Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Playa El Palmar

Throwback Thursday (on Tuesday, what can I say, I'm an overachiever).  A quick look into my 24th birthday trip to Panama...

Surfing. That was the whole point of our trip. I had never tried it, but my sister had. Unbeknownst to me, she actually had a horrible first experience and didn’t really want to try again! She knew it was my dream though, so she came along anyway (what a great sister). At this point I can’t even remember how exactly I stumbled upon Panama Surf School – probably Google.  I’d researched so many places and there are tons of options in the Caribbean and South America.  I think what got me hooked on Panama Surf School was that it was founded/owned by a women named Flor.  Girl power!!  Plus, airfare to Panama was relatively cheap and…well, I made our reservations in October and started working out.  No really, I did.  I was determined to succeed at surfing if at all possible, so I upped my workouts and added lots more “upper-body strength” focused work.  Who knows if it helped with the surfing, but it knowing we were going surfing in December certainly helped me stay motivated in my workouts…. 

So, on December 7th we headed to a small town in Panama called San Carlos that is located along El Palmar beach. The landscape is beautiful -tropical vegetation, rocky cliffs and beaches with a mixture of white and black sand. Our surf instructor said the black sand (from a volcanic eruption) is actually magnetic. If we ever go back we’re taking a magnet to test that out… We stood out like sore thumbs – which we’re actually getting used to at this point in our travelling careers. They’ were all so tan, and there we were: pale flesh that hadn’t seen sunshine in months and doesn’t even tan when it does. Needless to say, we slathered on our sunscreen before heading out for our first lesson. We had so much fun and both stood up on the board on our first or second try! We had expected it to be much hard than it was – but I think Ricardo made it easy for us (well as easy as one can without being able to control the waves). Catching a wave by yourself and having the locals cheer you on is such a great feeling. We still have lots to learn, but we definitely got a great foundation. We had our share of board rash and drank our share of saltwater - but it was all worth it. For me, there’s just nothing quite like being on the ocean, whether it’s on a surf board or a boogie board. Sitting on my board just staring out into the seemingly endless ocean waiting for a wave – words just don’t describe it.   Here’s a favorite travel quote with a shot of the San Carlos coastline…

Quick Tip:  If you've got short arms, don't even try
to carry the learner board any other way.
On your head is the way to go :)

Surf (noun)
1.  the swell of the sea that breaks upon a shore or upon shoals.
2.  the mass or line of foamy water caused by the breaking of the sea upon a shore,  
     especially a shallow or sloping shore.
verb (used without object)
3.  to ride a surfboard.
4. to float on the crest of a wave toward shore.
5. to swim, play, or bathe in the surf.
6. to search haphazardly, as for information on a computer network or an interesting
    program on television.

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